Thursday, June 8, 2017

Top 5 Traditional Desserts in Taiwan

By Asia Pop Culture

The traditional dessert in the West such as cheese cakes, pudding are either heavy in sugar or calories or both.  So most of the Westerners think this is what desserts are supposed to be - high in sugar and calories.  Well, allow us to bring you some delicious and light alternatives from Taiwan.

The NewsLens illustrated the top 5 traditional and delightful desserts in Taiwan:

Baobing
  • Baobing (刨冰) :  This is actually shaved ice, but the Taiwanese version is generally topped with red beans, mung beans, taro balls, peanuts, fresh seasonal fruit (like mango and strawberries) and served with a generous drizzle of condensed milk or honey.  This is a staple dessert particularly during the hot summer days and very common in China, Taiwan, and Malaysia. 

Douhua
  • Douhua (豆花 or 豆腐花): It is a Chinese snack made with very soft tofu. It is sometimes referred to as tofu pudding and soybean pudding.  This dish maybe served sweet (with ginger and syrup) or savory.  The savory version is one of the top breakfast choices in China and Taiwan. 
Grass Jelly
  • Grass Jelly (仙草): It is in jelly form and made using the leaves of Platostoma Palustre, a mint family plant, with a mild, slightly bitter taste. It is usually served chilled, with other toppings such as fruit, or in bubble tea or other drinks. It is believed to have some medicinal benefit of keeping the inner body cool.  
Aiyu Jelly
  • Aiyu jelly (愛玉冰): Aiyu is a jelly made from the gel from the seeds of a variety of fig (Ficus pumila var. awkeotsang) found in Taiwan and East Asian countries. Commonly served with lemon juice or honey.  Aiyu (愛玉) in Chinese literally means 'Love of Jade'.  It has a pleasant translucent light yellow color, and typically can be found only in Taiwan.  

Pineapple Cake
  • Pineapple Cake (鳳梨酥): This probably resembles the most to the 'dessert' that Westerners are used to.  It is made with butter, flour, egg, sugar, and fresh pineapple jam. These cakes often come wrapped in beautiful packaging and has become the most popular souvenir for foreign tourists.  Like Aiyu, pineapple cake is a specialty dessert only found in Taiwan. 
There is one interesting tidbit about the pineapple cake....  In Taiwanese Hokkien, "pineapple" sounds almost the same as a phrase meaning "prosperity to come forth" (旺來).  So pineapple cake is also popular in weddings to symbolize the hope that many children.  

I remember how these desserts were big part of my youth years growing up in Taipei.  In the U.S., most of the Asian markets carry some or all of the five desserts featured here (most likely in cans, except the pineapple cake).  So plan on picking up at least one of these mouth-watering desserts when you visit an Asian Market in your area. 

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